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The Devil's Rejects(2005)
Ambushed at their homestead by Sheriff Wydell and a squad of armed men, the Firefly family awakens with guns blazing- yet only Otis and his sister, Baby, manage to escape unharmed. Taking refuge and hostages in a back-road motel, the wanted siblings rendezvous with their deranged partner in crime, Captain Spaulding, killing whoever happens to stand in their way. But as the body count mounts higher, Sheriff Wydell decides to "cross the line" and take the law into his own hands, paving the way for one of the most depraved and terrifying showdowns in cinematic history.
For more about The Devil's Rejects and the The Devil's Rejects Blu-ray release, see the The Devil's Rejects Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on November 12, 2007 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Sid Haig, Bill Moseley (I), Sheri Moon Zombie, Ken Foree, Matthew McGrory, William Forsythe
Director: Rob Zombie
» See full cast & crew
The Devil's Rejects Blu-ray Review
Rob Zombie's genre-bending tale is worth watching.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, November 12, 2007
I am the devil, and I'm here to do the devil's work.
The Devil's Rejects is not an easy film to classify. Is it a horror film? Is it a revenge film? Is it a western film set in modern times made for modern audiences? Is it a combination of these, creating a new, peculiar sub genre? Once (and if) an answer is agreed upon, the next question is, is this a sequel to House of 1000 Corpses, or is it a brand new movie containing characters found in that film, with events of that film as a backdrop to jump start the story in this film? This film has a completely different style than Corpses, which was a horror film in the truest sense of the phrase. The Devil's Rejects, however, is tonally different. Gone is the typical horror staples of dungeons, monsters, and mutilations found in the first film. In Rejects, the tables are turned on the villains. They are the hunted. Evil permeates the film as good becomes evil, as work becomes obsession, as obsession becomes desperation, as depravity becomes commonplace, and as mayhem becomes a game on both sides of the law. What we have in The Devil's Rejects is a type of storytelling never before seen in cinema that takes a by-the-book film such as House of 1,000 Corpses and turns loose its characters into a world never before visited by such types, and the end result shows that true evil can give rise to true evil.
Apparently, this film takes place about six months after the events of House of 1,000 Corpses, a fact which leaves me with one question: is police procedure really that shoddy in Ruggsville County? In the first film, two officers investigate the Firefly house only to be murdered (along with a civilian accompanying them). Did these officers not at least radio in where they were going? Did it really take 6 months to figure out that this is where they went to and never returned from? Semantics aside, as the film opens, the police arrive at the house and are greeted by the business ends of M-16s, shotguns, and revolvers fired by the Firefly clan, clad in homemade iron body armor. A massive shootout ensues, and 4 officers are killed and 7 are wounded. Otis (Bill Moseley) and Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie, wife of director Rob Zombie) escape the mayhem. Mother Firefly (Leslie Easterbrook in the role played by Karen Black in House of 1,000 Corpses) is captured. Sheriff John Wydell (William Forsythe) leads the assault on the house. Mother Firefly confesses to the murder of Wydell's brother in the interrogation room, one of the slain officers from the first film. Wydell quickly loses his sanity as he murders Mother Firefly and seeks revenge on the remaining members of the family. Meanwhile, Otis and Baby hole up in a run-down motel room, taking a traveling country music band hostage. Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig), the fun yet grotesque clown from the first film is also now on the run, and he reunites with Otis and Baby later on in the film. His relationship to the clan is revealed, and he once again turns in a great performance.
The inability to really classify this movie is one of its strengths, and therein lies the intrigue. This is an entire movie based on a turning of the tables--this time it's the horror characters on the run, not their victims. In this film, it's the law hunting the established villians. These are scary characters, even more so than your typical Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees types. They are real people with real emotions, real personalities, real backgrounds, and real conflicts (with each other, their victims, the law, and themselves). They're certifiable to be sure, and their motive for murder and mayhem stems from that insanity. The real star of this show is sheriff Wydell. He becomes the terrifying presence in the film, and it's an odd twist. We don't like him, but we can't blame him or his motivation based on what the Fireflys have done to him, and we certainly don't feel bad for the Fireflys when their time is up.
This is a good movie, but nothing I'll likely watch over and over. It's gloomy and depressing from start to finish. Even Rob Zombie admits in his commentary track that the more offensive portions of the movie set such a gloomy tone that had the entire movie stayed at that pace, it would be unwatchable. It's nearly unwatchable as it is, not because it is bad, but quite the opposite. It's so effective at being scary and dispiriting that I can't imagine watching this very often. It's still a well-crafted movie and worth seeing if for nothing more than the complete 180 degree turn this film takes from its predecessor, House of 1,000 Corpses, a film you should definitely watch before this one.
The Devil's Rejects Blu-ray, Video Quality
The best word to sum up this presentation from Lionsgate is "gritty." Presented as Rob Zombie intended in its original 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio and in 1080p glory, The Devil's Rejects employs a drab, gloomy look throughout. There is a sense of realism here that I haven't seen in too many other movies. It fits into the tone of a film set in the 1970s perfectly. It replicates not only the costumes and attitudes of the time, but it also fits stylistically, looking as if it were made about 30 years ago. This film features a muted, washed out color palette. The Devil's Rejects is such a stylistic oddity and its hard to judge its presentation. It's meant to look old and gritty, and this disc replicates that almost perfectly. Flesh tones sometimes look a little on the orange side, but black levels are spot- on. This film has a lot of grain that isn't misplaced and is not the result of a bad transfer. It's meant to be there so enjoy the look it adds to the film. All in all, for a film that is meant to look "bad," this one looks pretty good.
The Devil's Rejects Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Lionsgate is really pushing high definition audio on their releases, and this film offers up a DTS HD ES track as well as a Dolby Digital 5.1 EX track. What we get is a lively, kicking soundtrack. The shootout at beginning is one of the better shootouts, sonically, that I have heard. It rivals any gunfire heavy Blu-ray release I have heard, such as Black Hawk Down. It's very active. Dialogue is natural, and yells and screams come through clearly and naturally. The highlight of the track is Zombie's use of classic rock tunes throughout, such as the Allman Brothers' Midnight Rider and Lynyrd Skynyrd's Freebird. These and other classics are used to great effect. When they are played, the action onscreen is almost a well choreographed dance, matching perfectly to the music. Thankfully, this key thematic element sounds wonderful. It's integral to the plot and pace of the film, and the music fills the room with crystal clear and accurate notes.
The Devil's Rejects Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
There are two commentary tracks for your listening pleasure, but unfortunately there is not much to offer beyond them. The first track features only director Rob Zombie. This a very to-the-point track with lots of background and many anecdotes about things that went wrong during filming, casting decisions, his thoughts on the violence and mood in the picture, and how CGI is used in this picture. He's really, really good during this track, and this is a much better track than what he delivered on Corpses. The second track features cast members Sheri Moon Zombie, Sid Haig, and Bill Moseley. Whereas Zombie's track was more technical, this track is more laid back, reminiscing about the making of the movie, and laughing at what is happening on screen. It's enjoyable but it doesn't offer up a whole lot that anyone but the hardcore fans will want to listen to.
There are several deleted scenes (1080i) on the disc with a total runtime of 13:24. There is no option to hear director's commentary about why they were deleted, just a title card with the name of the scene. These are all short scenes with a little exposition and background that we didn't get in the final cut, but most would not have added a whole lot to the final cut. There is, however, a very gory, rather lengthy scene featuring Doctor Satan from the first film that helps the audience figure out what happened to him.
The only other supplement is a 1080p montage of other Lionsgate titles available on Blu-ray.
The Devil's Rejects Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Devil's Rejects is a unique film from one of the up-and-coming horror directors of this era. Though not a horror film in the traditional sense, this is still a scary, sick, and perverted film that stays with you long after the credits roll. It features solid direction, acting, and musical cues that immerse the viewer into the gritty world where these savages fight for survival against an enemy bent on seeing them suffer in the same style that they have caused others to suffer over the years. It's a great idea for a film, especially as a sequel to a horror movie, and it is unexpected and clever in its storytelling. It's a disturbing film, but one worth watching if you have a strong stomach. Lionsgate has another good disc here, but it's a shame that it is thin on supplements. Recommended along with House of 1,000 Corpses for anyone who wants to see a fantastic twist on the horror genre.
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